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Subject: Order of the Gilded Compass - CCC Game Night rss

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Laura G
United States
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Game Title: Order of the Gilded Compass
Date: August 16, 2016
Number of Players: 5 (plays 2-5)
Playing Time: 1.0 hours (including set-up, rule discussion, game and tear down)
Mechanics: Dice Rolling, Area Control, Area Influence

Dice placement games are a big hit in my gaming group. A great perk of Order of the Gilded Compass is that it plays well with two players (with variant in the rulebook) or five. It also plays great with three and four. The other day, we managed to get in a five player game at our local community college game night. For this game, we used the Treasure Hunters’ Guild and the Treasure Tower.

One of the cool aspects of Order of the Gilded Compass is that the buildings are interchangeable. Every game has the Archives, University and Library in but, after that, you get to mix and match. Each game uses one “B” building and one “C” building. For “B”, the options are the Treasure Hunters’ Guild or the Auction House. “C” buildings are Illuminati, Sunken Galleon, Treasure Tower and Hidden Temple. Each combination will change the game and your strategy for victory.

The game is played over a series of rounds, with each player taking one action per turn. End of round is activated when one player uses his/her last die. The round plays through so each player has an equal amount of turns. All remaining dice are placed in the Library.

There is a bit of setup involved in the game, including pulling a few tiles from the Mission Tiles relating to buildings which are not in play. We forgot this step and had to pull them when we found them. You also set up the University based upon the number of players, plus two. The puzzle pieces for this are cool! You add/subtract pieces based upon the player amount plus two. I will note it is a bit hard to see the dice boxes on some of the pieces, including the Treasure Tower and University but not terrible. Another sweet tidbit, the Ancient Maps have symbols on them that match the symbols on the Specialists! This is a great idea for individuals that may have some form of color blindness.

A quick set-up breakdown: Maps by Archives with four face up; Missions by Treasure Hunters’ Guild; treasures separated by type and placed on each side of the Treasure Tower; Specialists by the University with the specific number face up (player count plus two); and, knowledge tokens by the Library.

Dice placement for this set-up:
1. Archives – place the dice in sets, single die more, of the same number pips. You can add to this set on a later turn. You can also create a new set on a later turn. There can never be two sets of the same pips and the same dice count.

2. Treasure Hunters’ Guild – place the dice in sequence, from a single die on up. You can add to this sequence later. You cannot have more than one sequence in the Guild. You cannot have the exact same sequence as another player.

3. Treasure Tower – place any single die or two dice that add up to seven (example 3 and 4). If a die or dice are here already, move them up to the next level. If the tower is already full, push those top dice (or die) off and add to the Library.

4. University – place any single die or two dice that add up to five (example 2 and 3). If a die or dice are already in the University, position your new die (dice) to the left of the die that is equal to or higher in pip value (example place a new 1 die to the left of any die already with 1 pip). If this causes the University to be more than full, push the highest dice off and add to the Library.

5. Library – place any single die here of any value. Not recommended unless you really have nothing else to do. Any number of dice can be here. Any dice that do not gather a reward will also be moved here. This location gives you Knowledge Tokens for rerolls (or end game points).

A five player game is played over five rounds. Again, the end of the round is triggered by one individual using his/her last die. Then, the remainder of the players to the left of this player, complete the round, so each player has equal turns. All remaining dice are placed in the Library.

Each turn you are allowed to place one or more dice in one building. You can never place dice in multiple buildings or in more than one group in the Archive, on the same turn. You can add to a sequence in the Treasure Hunters’ Guild or the group you currently have in Archive and you can also start a new group in the Archive. So just remember, on your turn, you can never place dice in multiple locations or twice in the same building on that turn! Thankfully, we had a pretty solid group playing so this was not hard to remember. With certain groups, reinforcement of this would be necessary.

After explaining all the above, we began with Becky as our start player. She elected to put a sequence of dice in the Treasure Hunters’ Guild. She added a 2, 3 and 4. I was next and rolled 6s like you wouldn’t believe! I put four of them in the Archives. Adam added a 1 and 4 to the University. Mat turns out to be a horrible roller. He added a 6 and 1 to the Treasure Tower. Mak ended the first go around with a sequence of her own, 2, 3, 4 and 5, which was higher than Becky’s. Oh the angry looks were beginning!

The round went about the table two more times before Mak used her last die to end it. Which sadly also meant none of us had another chance to use our remaining dice as she was the last player in round order. We resolved our buildings, left to right, top to bottom. Treasure Hunters’ Guild resulted in Mak and Becky each obtaining a Mission Tile. I managed to grab two map tiles, Becky one and Adam one. Mat ran away with the Treasure Tower and we all snagged some Specialists. All but myself earned some Knowledge Tokens.

Round two was interesting as one of the players (Adam) bailed. Nice thing about the setup, when a player leaves, remove one puzzle piece from the University and move on! We played the remainder of the game with four players and it was fine.

After four rounds (everyone was ready to go, we skipped the 5th round), we did final scoring. The breakdown and a bit about each, as follows:

1. Maps – score the lower number on the Map unless you have at least one Specialists attached. Note, you can only have one of each type of Specialist (Excavator, Cartographer) attached and they must be the same color as the Map. Special case: The Abandoned Dig Site. This accepts any color but, if two are present, they must be the same color.

2. Specialists – score the value listed if they are attached to a Map. Again, they must be attached to a Map of the same color.

3. Knowledge Tokens – gain 1 gold for each two tokens.

4. Mission Tiles – each has a specific quest. You can check them out in the separate Mission Tile Guide.

5. Treasure Goblets – varied points, add them up.

I knocked it out the ballpark with Maps and scored 13 points to Mat’s 2, Mak’s 6 and Becky’s 5. I also crushed it with Specialists with 11 points to Mat’s 10, Mak’s 4 and Becky’s 8. Sadly, that was it for me. 2 more points for Knowledge and I was in last place with 26 points. Mak came in second with 28, she had a good bit for Goblets and Mat had 29, his best was those 10 points of Specialists. Becky really came through though and slid past us all with 34 points. Again, we played four rounds. Maybe that fifth round would have made a huge difference for someone and things would have turned out differently.

Everyone enjoyed the game and all agreed they would play again with the same or a different setup. The rules list 10+ as the suggested age and I’d say that is accurate, if not even a little low. Adam just turned 9 and there were too many different choices for him. He was getting overwhelmed with the buildings and how to place his dice.
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